THOUSAND OAKS : City OKs 7% Annual Raises for Managers

Thousand Oaks' 83 mid-level managers will receive annual merit-based raises of up to 7% and expanded life insurance benefits under a new contract approved this week.

The three-year contract also merges vacation and sick time into a single category, known as annual leave. Employees with up to four years of continuous service will receive 18 10-hour days off each year, and managers with more than a decade of service will enjoy at least 24 days of annual leave.

"For what's happening in the economy right now, it's a pretty good package," said Roy Myers, vice president of the Thousand Oaks Management Assn. union.

During eight months of sometimes-bitter negotiations, a group of 27 senior managers broke away from the union and formed their own bargaining team. That group has yet to sign a contract, but member Greg Eckman said they were treating negotiations as "informal discussions with the city manager" rather than confrontational debates.

As the city's human resources manager, Eckman helped negotiate the contract with the Thousand Oaks Management Assn. He said he was "pleased and relieved" to receive final City Council approval of the contract on Tuesday.

Granting the merit raises, annual leave and insurance benefits to all 83 managers represented by the union will cost the city about $210,000 a year, Eckman said. That amount could fluctuate depending on the merit raises, which managers said should average about 5% a year.

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